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Surprising facts you didn’t know about St Patrick’s Day

Here are some little known truths about the festival dedicated to all things green and Guinness related.
St patrick's day

An Irish woman celebrating St Patrick's Day


St Patrick was not Irish

That’s right. St Patrick was actually born in either England, Scotland, or Wales. No one actually knows if he is of Celtic or Roman origin, but there is a theory that he was descended from Roman aristocracy.

He was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave, where he supposedly used the shamrock to explain the Christian Holy Trinity to the Pagans.

He didn’t even wear green

His clothes were blue, so that’s that out of the window. However, a green sash or shamrock is thought to have been worn on St Paddy’s day since the 1680s, hence the tradition.

Ireland is not the biggest consumer of Guinness

It’s actually Nigeria, of all places. Three of the five Guinness owned breweries are actually stationed in Africa.

He didn’t rid the country of snakes

Mainly because there probably weren’t any snakes in Ireland in the first place. In fact, the tale of St Patrick driving the snakes out is meant to be allegorical, and symbolise him ridding the country of Pagan practices and heralding Christianity.

Modern St Patrick’s Day is an American holiday, not an Irish one

Until the 18th century, St Paddy’s Day was a Catholic feast that was observed just in Ireland. But after many Irish people immigrated to the US, they started a celebration on the 17th March to show their pride for their culture. The first St Patrick’s parade was there. Since then, it’s spread around the world.

Irish St Paddy’s Day was never about the drink

Back during the traditional festival – pubs would close completely, and people would attend church. Nowadays it’s seen as an all day drinking festival.

It could have been St Maewyn’s day

Before becoming a priest, the patron saint was called Maewyn Succat, but he changed his name to Patricius afterwards. The anglicised version of this name is Patrick.

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